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Qualification or Ideal?

The Verb

Scripture says, "An overseer, then, must be . . . (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:7)." The items are certainly qualifications and not just ideals for which elders strive but can never meet nor are they just a cumulative list that the oversight corporately meets but that individual elders do not have to meet.

  • "These are not ideals toward which an overseer should seek, but are standards which he must attain . . . (J. R. Littleproud, The Christian Assembly, page 64)."
  • "These passages must be carefully studied and diligently applied in congregational life, for unworthy leaders have done untold harm (Gary Inrig, Life in His Body, page 105)."
  • "I have repeatedly observed that the big mistake many churches make when first seeking to establish a biblical eldership and biblical diaconate is to appoint the wrong men to office. In the end, the church is saddled with the wrong leaders and perhaps suffers years of problems such as those experienced by the church at Ephesus. Insist on biblically qualified men for church office, even if such men take years to develop. Complete obedience to God's Word is always the best policy (Alexander Strauch, Minister of Mercy, The New Testament Deacon, page 88)."
  • "The most common mistake made by churches that are eager to implement biblical eldership is to appoint biblically unqualified men. Because there is always a need for more shepherds, it is tempting to allow unqualified, unprepared men to assume leadership in the church. This is, however, a time-proven formula for failure (Alexander Strauch, Biblical Eldership, Restoring the Eldership to Its Rightful Place in the Church, page 19)."
  • "The offices of God's church are not honorary positions bestowed on individuals who have attended church faithfully or who are senior in years (Alexander Strauch, Biblical Eldership, Restoring the Eldership to Its Rightful Place in the Church, page 19)."

The Style

The qualifications are found in literature that is of the logical style. This style is designed to be taken at face value. It is not poetic material like the Proverbs that contains concepts that are generally true but may be different in isolated instances. Logical material is designed to be obeyed and not allegorized.

Copyright 2010 - Ken Bowles